We had the good fortune of connecting with Elizabeth Boulos and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Elizabeth, how do you think about risk?
When we take risks, regardless of size, we’re preparing ourselves for growth. No matter how big or small the risk is, we experience emotions that teach us about ourselves. In my life, I’ve discovered the most about my strengths, weaknesses, and areas for growth by taking risks. This has applied to taking small risks, like taking on projects outside my level of expertise where I needed to learn on-the-fly, to large risks, like leaving a corporate job that no longer served me. If not for taking risks, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to live and work abroad in Serbia, live in Colorado, or be the entrepreneur that I am today. Through taking risks, I’ve gained confidence and humility, learned to be vulnerable and open, and learned what things are most important to me. I firmly believe taking risks is how we go from good to great.
What should our readers know about your business?
The truth is, I have many different businesses, from representing sustainable brands to helping small businesses establish their branding and marketing strategy. The role I enjoy most however, is as the Ingredient Insider on Instagram and Facebook, where I help educate consumers about the truth behind the products they buy, and the ingredients in them. It’s been a long journey to get here. I spent 15 years as a brand marketing expert. This experience brought me exposure to many facets of both food and personal care products and my passion around ingredient education. Along the way, a few key events really ignited my journey. In 2008, I worked for an organic produce distribution company here in Colorado learning about the impacts of chemicals to human health, but also the impact to farmers and the earth. I’d never really thought about the way foods were grown and how the methodology can take a toll on workers and the environment; that was a huge “aha” moment for me. Then in 2010, I was diagnosed with Celiac disease and this diagnosis required me to start paying close attention to ingredient labels and the many hidden sources of gluten. Once you go down this path, you realize how difficult it can be to read ingredient labels. The final key moment, and something I feel pride in as a unique experience, is my time working abroad in Serbia where I focused on sustainability. Specifically, my focus was on creating sustainable products and I was exposed further to the impacts of industry. For example, palm oil was a growing industry at a time, but I gained a quick education in the environmental and human rights impact of this now widely used ingredient. Another example is from my work exploring personal care product development where I learned that Europe and the USA have widely different standards for what chemicals and ingredients are allowed, and how many of those allowed in the USA have negative impacts to human and environmental health. Never again was I able to not think about a product – food or otherwise – without considering how it was grown, manufactured, or what ingredients are included. In 2019, I decided to take possibly the biggest risk of my life and left my stable corporate job. My passion for education was what really drove me, and I had to explore it further. It has definitely not been easy. Finding my voice in today’s crowded internet world is quite a challenge. Because there are so many voices, it can be hard to share your message in a meaningful way. But if there is one lesson I’ve learned above all others, it’s to stay true to yourself. With this in mind, I’ve been astonished at how positively people respond, and when you stay true to yourself, you’ll always know that the community you are building is there for you.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I live in Arvada, just outside of Denver, and the allure for me is the proximity to both the city and the mountains, so I like to give guests the experience of exploring both in one day. For example, we’d start with a barre class at The Barre Standard in the morning, grab brunch at the Bindery, check out the Beautycounter store in the Free Market, grab a coffee at Union Station, take pictures at the 5280 steps at the Capitol, and then head up to Red Rocks to catch a concert, or the beautiful sunset. Finally, we’d head back to Arvada for a nightcap at the Arvada Tavern. I also like to show my guests that Colorado has a little of everything – mountains, water and desert. For a mountain experience, we’d drive up to Steamboat Springs for a night. We’d drive up early, grab a pastry and treat at Off the Beaten Path then go tubing down the river. In the evening, we’d eat Otto’s Pizza, then head to the Strawberry Hot Springs to relax for the evening under the stars. For water, I like people to see some of our gorgeous glacial lakes, like at Rocky Mountain National Park’s Dream Lake, or hiking at St. Mary’s Glacier. They’re both easy hikes, even for those new to altitude, and have beautiful views of the lakes and mountains. For the desert, I love going to Sand Dunes National Park and since it’s a bit of a trek, we’d take a couple of nights to go camp, hike and explore. It’s a really unique place and the landscape is beautiful – you have the giant sand dunes, mountain peaks of the San Juans and then the beautiful plains and farmland. It’s a special place. We’d wrap up our week back in Arvada, relaxing in my backyard around the fire with a glass of Scout & Cellar wine and good conversation. There’s a pretty good chance I’d be convincing my friend to move here, too!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Carol Eleazer, who I met at my first corporate job, is who I owe a great deal of gratitude to for her mentorship, words of wisdom and encouragement over the past 15+ years. Whenever I’ve been at a crossroads in my career and/or life journey, she’s been there to listen and give me the nudge I needed, often a gentle reminder of “Well, what’s the worst that can happen?” She is also the leader I aspire to be as Carol has a unique ability to connect and inspire diverse groups of people, lead with humor and humility, and remind those she cares about what matters most – the life we have outside of work. My relationship, and friendship, with Carol is one that I’ll always treasure.
Casey Poe Campbell/Elegant Adventure Photo